Discover WA’s freshwater marvels at road shows

July 27, 2011

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The wonder of Western Australia’s freshwater fauna will be brought vividly to life for communities across Perth and the south west in a road show co-devised by Murdoch University researchers.

Michael Klunzinger, Dr David Morgan, Dr Stephen Beatty and Mark Allen from the university’s Freshwater Fish Research Group have worked with the South East Regional Centre for Urban Landcare (SERCUL), local filmmakers and a Nyungar elder to develop a series of films, brochures and a field guide for the events.

The first road show will take place at the Canning River Eco-Education Centre, Cannington, on Wednesday, August 3, before visiting Muchea and Bunbury. The road show will also be visiting Mandurah, Busselton, Manjimup and Albany with dates to be confirmed. The entire project has been funded by a $52,000 grant from Lotterywest.

“Our main aim with the road show is to raise public awareness about often unseen, yet ecologically important aquatic animals that are found in our waterways,” said Mr Klunzinger, an expert on Carter’s Freshwater mussels.

“We also want to actively involve the public in contributing to scientific knowledge, as well as securing funding for future research projects so that we can help to protect the many different species of freshwater fish, crayfish, turtles and mussels in our rivers, streams, lakes and wetlands.”

SERCUL’s CEO Julie Robert, who has worked closely with Mr Klunzinger on the project, said much of WA’s unique biodiversity had been severely impacted since European settlement so it was important to educate members of the public to ensure the survival of precious plants and animals in waterways.

“The region’s aquatic ecosystems, in particular, are increasingly threatened by habitat loss and declining water quality, as well as introduced fishes and crayfishes,” she said.

“This is why we hope that land and river care groups, government and educational institutions as well as members of the public will attend the road shows.”

Minister for Environment and Water Bill Marmion MLA will attend the first road show in Cannington along with collaborators on the project ENVfusion Films Inc, Joseph Northover (Nyungar elder) and Ann Jones from the ABC.

The event begins at 4.30pm and will see three five-minute films on the underwater fauna of South Western Rivers screened before the brochures and the field guide are handed out.

There will be mussels, crayfish and fish on display at the Canning Eco Education Centre aquarium.

Mr Klunzinger will also present some of his findings on the freshwater mussel populations of South West WA, in part aided by the public via the Musselwatch website.

Confirmed road show dates:

CANNINGTON – August 3, Canning River Eco-Education Centre, 4.30pm-6pm

MUCHEA – August 27, Chittering Landcare Centre, (time tbc)

BUNBURY – September 15, Council Civic Centre, 6pm-8pm

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